* Individual results may vary.
Many people who visit Platinum Dermatology are unaware that fingernails and toenails provide important clues about disease, infection, and other conditions affecting the body. Furthermore, diseases of the nail and the skin surrounding the nail can impact your ability to pick up small objects and dull your sense of touch. Dermatologists are the only experts on all conditions affecting skin, nails and hair.
In this article, specialist dermatologists from our skin care practice in Ultimo offer information that will help you know how to spot unhealthy nails, and what to do if your fingernails or toenails don’t look right.
Platinum Dermatology Toenail and Fingernail Basics
Toenails and fingernails are made up of keratin, a hardened protein produced naturally by the body. As new keratin cells grow, older cells are pushed out from the base of the nails near the cuticle. Infrequent in children, nail problems usually increase throughout life and affect many of the elderly. This is due to
- The susceptibility of the nail to fungal infections
- Increased thickness due to age
- Circulatory problems
- Regular use of medications that may affect the nails
Healthy nails are smooth and un-pitted. Their colour is uniform, and they are free of spots. Nails that have been injured may develop white spots or lines. This is not generally a cause for concern, however, as most of these spots eventually grow out and are cut away.
Fingernails may develop vertical ridges that run from the nail tip to the cuticle. They become more prominent with age, but are harmless.
6 Reasons to Consult Platinum Dermatology about Your Nail Disorders
Many patients contact Platinum Dermatology about problems with their fingernails and toenails, asking if their nails are “sick.” We recommend that they book a consultation at our practice when they notice:
- Change in nail colour, including dark streaking beneath the nail
- Change in shape
- Change in thickness
- Swelling or pain around the nails
- Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
Platinum Dermatology Lists Causes of Nail Abnormalities
Nail health can be impacted by a number of factors such as:
- Underlying medical conditions (e.g., anaemia, lung disease)
- Skin conditions such as psoriasis
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Chemicals from hair dyes and nail varnish
- Fungal infections of the skin and nail
- Ingrown nails
Melanoma (cancer) is also a cause of nail irregularities. See your dermatologist right away if you notice new and changing pigmentation of your nail or the skin around it.
Common Nail Disorders Treated by Platinum Dermatology
Platinum Dermatology’s skin specialists understand that the best treatment for fingernail and toenail disorders varies from patient to patient based on a variety of factors, including the type and severity of the problem. Toenails, for example, may best be treated with a course of oral medication. Where appropriate, an antifungal lacquer may be recommended.*
4 Ways to Prevent Nail Disorders
At our practice, we also talk to patients with problem toenails and fingernails about preventive measures. These include:
- Keeping nails short
- Keeping hands and feet dry
- Wearing loose shoes
- Wearing shoes and socks made of breathable fabric
Visit Platinum Dermatology for Solutions to Problem Nails
If you have questions about nail disorders or problems with your nails that are related to skin issues, contact Platinum Dermatology at (02) 8014 6500 or use the contact form on this page to learn how we can help get your hands back to looking their best.
* Individual results may vary.